Agritourism Allows Farmers To Diversify and Has Potential Benefits for Rural Communities

Lagos is considered to have the largest economic activity; Benin city is known for its culture that is a solemn reverence for the past while Plateau State is described as “The Home of Peace and Tourism”. With natural formations of rocks, hills and waterfalls, it derives its name from the Jos Plateau. There is an abundance of things that makes Jos a dream destination, and one of these is the exotic fruits and vegetables that grow there due to the city’s climate. Strawberry is one of the exotic fruits grown in Jos, it’s now the most important produce that shapes the economic power of the people of Chaha community. Chaha is located at the outskirts of Vom in Jos South LGA of Plateau State. Nigerian Strawberry Farmer

Strawberries do not like heat

Higher altitude gives Jos a near-temperate climate and influences growth and productivity of fruit trees much more than any other factor which affects the fruit plants. Strawberry production runs from January through March, and with oversupply at the peak of production comes glut. This raises concern for the farmers because whatever happens, whether there are good buyers or not, harvest of the fruit cannot be delayed. Harvest is usually done in the early hours of the morning and by 8:00 AM, you are sure to find them along the highways hawked by women hoping to make as much as what the farmer gets per kilogram at the farm gate. These women are sometimes the only hope of farmers who do not have access to market for their produce or facilities to store them for even a few days. Strawberries are highly perishable, with no cold storage facilities, the value of post-harvest loss is unquantifiable.  As the internet becomes more accessible, producers are able to connect with consumers from around the country, and some are able to offer same day delivery to major Nigerian cities. However, with limited flights out of Jos, many suppliers are unable to meet the very growing demand.

Resilience and passion are driving change.

The demand for exotic fruits has increased globally, especially since the pandemic started, and consumers are on the lookout for fruits and vegetables that will provide them with beneficial nutrients.

The city of Jos has the potential to drive opportunities within the agricultural sector and young people are leading this change. HRH Farms acquired a previously abandoned fifty-year-old orchard in Plateau State and has been bringing it back to life with the cultivation of exotic fruits like grape, strawberry, Passion fruit, Jackfruit, Soursop & oil Palm. Aminu Bappa an indigene of Plateau State and founder of HRH farms has spent so many resources to harness the untapped opportunities of agriculture and agritourism. With natural formations of rocks, hills and waterfalls, including an abundance of unexploited mineral reserves, wildlife and arable land, many young farmers like Aminu, are working to enhance linkages between tourism and sustainable farming. Agritourism comes with economic benefits for travelers and farmers.

In fact, it is necessary for the survival of some small farms as it diversifies their income streams, allowing them to earn money outside of their regular production season. Tourism and agriculture are important contributors to the development of local economies. Though insecurity has hindered farming activities and food production, there is a great necessity to bring out a new concept that can both promote the tourism, horticulture sectors and ultimately improve the economic condition of farmers in plateau state.

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